( Originally Published 1913 )
ONE of the loveliest features in flower arrangement is known as Ashirai; it is also one of the most diflīcult to master. It is the placing at the base of the arrangement a flower of a different variety from that used in the main arrangement.
A flower is frequently arranged in this way at the base of a tree arrangement, simulating a flower springing up at the root of a tree. I give here an example of forsythia arranged with an Ashirai of camelia.
The Ashirai should be placed slightly to one side or a trifle behind the main arrangement. By no means must it cross the main arrangement in front, by any of its Ieaves, flowers, or branches. The Ashirai and the main arrangement should be separate and distinct, each perfect and complete without the other.
The Ashirai must not be too close to the main arrangement nor too widely separated, but what the Japanese call "ideaIIy" separated; then the effect is exquisite.
If, as often happens after you have finished an arrangement of shrubs or tree branches, it appears rather blank and "lonely" near the water, add Ashirai and the result wiII be charming.
How to Arrange Ashirai
As the original groups have been already placed in the support and fill it completely, the Ashirai is placed outside the support and the end of each stem split at the base and turned back as shown in the cut. This holds the Ashirai firmly. Another exceIIent Ashirai support is Iike the kubari with three prongs already shown. In this the main arrangement is placed in one side and the Ashirai in the other, as shown in the illustrations on page 160.
Ashirai in a water arrangement. When an Ashirai is combined with a flower arrangement made in a Iow, flat vase, the main arrangement need, have no Earth or lowest branch, but Earth will be formed by the Ashirai.
No. 1 represents Ashirai badly arranged, because two Ieaves and a flower prevent us from a full front view of the main stem.
No. 2 represents Ashirai too close to the main stem.
No. 3 Ashirai is "ideally" arranged. It being separate and distinct, the effect is admirable. The Ieaves behind the flower marked by a Iong line at the right of the arrangement render the whole thing very effective. There should always be these Ieaves in an Ashirai arrangement.